Writer: Jeff Lemire
Penciler: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin
Inker: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: November 16, 2016
Plot: The Mad Titan is always out wreaking havoc on the world, but now he has returned for a throne in space without knowing how many people want to stop him for good.
Story: The story behind the first issue in Thanos sets up a very interesting story that immediately feels like it’s going to add lots of depth to the character, unlike anything seen before. The character is one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe, but more recently Thanos has been introduced to his son, which reveals new side of the character. Lemire kicks things off by showing Thanos’ complete dominance and how big of a legend he truly is across the entire universe. The writing in this first book is a lot of set up for the series but handles it very nicely by revolving things around Thanos and how easily he has accomplished so many things.
The story really builds up the lore and seamlessly fills in the background of the character for any new readers without taking too much away from the present day story. Lemire also does a nice job of transitioning the writing from set up to Thanos himself, providing really great dialogue that clearly depicts the character’s thought process and how he handles betrayals and people challenging him. Thanos never feels like he can be challenged, which is an interesting character trait to have, but as Lemire grows this story throughout the issue, it is a much needed aspect.
Thanos is a ruthless dictator villain, and the issue clearly puts that on display but almost might have some readers questioning how a series can stay interesting while focusing on someone so powerful. Yet, Lemire really comes through with the issue’s slow build to the reveal that Thane is organizing a plot with Death to kill his father for good. The whole issue builds up how massive of a threat Thanos is, only to surprise readers with Thane’s plot, and that is what makes this book very compelling as it moves forward. Although the book is still titled Thanos, the idea to paint this character in the middle of almost what feels like a family drama is unique and something that has never been done with the character before.
Art: The art in this story looks really cool and opens up with a gritty style that fits the retelling of who Thanos is as a character. A lot of the scenes and panels are drawn with lots of pencil looking lines that add an edge to the dark story being presented. Deodato and Martin do a nice job of echoing the story and lore Lemire sets up around Thanos, just showing off his raw power throughout the book’s opening pages.
The scenes are drawn and colored with a very dark tone, and the issue really shows off Thanos as the Mad Titan. A lot of the action sequences are really great and the panels give full attention to the amount of destruction that comes whenever Thanos comes around. Essentially nothing normal can stop the character, and the artists really nicely draw him to appear as such a large presence on the page.
While the artists keep things dark, that doesn’t mean they don’t properly utilize color either. As mentioned above, they really give Thanos a god-like presence on the pages, and by painting him as a silhouette with all of this vibrant colors is a nice way of making the scenes in the issue come off as dark and ominous. Thanos #1 spends a lot of it’s time kicking things off with the build up of the character, and the artwork really nails the feeling of a backstory without any of the events depicted feeling like a retread.
Along with this, Deodato and Martin shouldn’t be sold short for their detail work in this issue either. There is still a lot of emotion on display in the book and when given the chance to show close ups, they don’t fail. The entire sequence where Thanos surprised Corvus Glaive with his return shows the character go from being a confident leader to someone ready to beg for their life because they have no chance. It’s actually pretty sad to watch Glaive explain throughout the course of the issue how well he has done as a leader only to realize that he isn’t making it out of the confrontation alive.
Verdict: Thanos #1 sets up a very interesting premise that has an exciting future ahead. The character has never really been analyzed or looked at this deeply, but with Jeff Lemire writing and seeing what Deodato and Martin did with the artwork in this issue, fans interested in learning more about the Mad Titan should enjoy this story.